By Tina Plett
As I was considering which story to tell you this week, I had a load of happy stories to choose from. I love that my whole job is to meet people in this big, personal experience with all its memories, emotions and upheaval and help them navigate it. I get to be there for them in it, which feeds my soul. I’m humbled and elated all at once.
A few years ago, I had the joy of working with a couple who was selling their long-time home and moving into retirement. The proceeds from the home would be part of their retirement fund. As I took measurements, uploaded photos and did my awesome, high-tech marketing thing, I smiled, feeling the importance of my role in getting them the best price so they’d have more to live on.
The problem was their location. The house was out in no man’s land. It was in one of the slower markets. They had already moved out, and to get top dollar for the house was going to take a long time. A LONG time. I worried that telling them this would frustrate or shock them. After all, they’d already moved on. They were ready to have it be done. Instead, they just said, “We know. That’s fine. We want our price, as long as it takes.”
I noticed how they made the transition a positive experience by moving first, then putting the house up for sale. It really helped them embrace their new home and adjust slowly to it over time. Now the sale would be a relief (letting go of yard and home care) instead of a source of grief (suddenly parting with memories).
The marketing generated a lot of interest and quite a lot of showings. Many people dream of owning a country property. However, most lookers were not willing to commit to driving the distance.
For a year, they kept it listed with me. In that time, I was in a great deal of pain until I finally got my hip surgery. Now, normally, a client might decide to hire another agent if the house doesn’t sell in six months. They especially might hire someone else if the house doesn’t sell in 12 months, AND the agent couldn’t even physically come out to the house to do showings or sign documents. Not them. They stayed loyal that whole time.
“Don’t you worry,” my client said. “I know what it’s like to have hip surgery. We’re not going anywhere.” He gave me recovery pointers before I went under the knife. It was so special – they were more like friends or parents than clients.
It’s hard to explain in a short article just how much this couple means to me. They were loyal. Deeply loyal. Even when I couldn’t make it to a showing, they were completely happy to have my colleague Eniko come in my stead. Even when it took months, as I predicted, to sell the house, they knew it wasn’t me or the price – it was the slow market of their location. So, they stayed the course with grace and contentment. And, as expected, a year later the house sold.
“Thank you for your loyalty,” I smiled as I handed them a document. I had poured a lot of time and marketing dollars into the listing, so it was nice to get paid for my work. (In real estate, that doesn’t always happen.)
“Absolutely!” they said, “you’ve served us really well and we appreciate your effort!”
In the end, it was an honor to help them secure their retirement fund. More than that, it was an honor to make a connection with people who are content, down to earth and loyal. People are why this work is so important to me, and those are two people I will never forget.